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7 Ways to Earn and Keep Respect as a Husband

By April 23, 2016Family, Marriage

I’ve written before about a man’s greatest need.

It’s respect.

We may not even admit it out loud, but I’d say it’s true most every time. You may even use another word – perhaps even the word love, but I suspect if we could trace how you’d prefer it be demonstrated to you we could easily translate it to respect.

The song says “All you need is love”, but it’s not exactly true, is it? We need respect. It’s a man’s greatest need. I’m convinced.

If I’m right – (And, I always wonder why else God would command it in Ephesians 5?) – then it makes sense you’d want to earn it and if you ever received it you’d want to do your best to keep it.

How can you? Let me share a few suggestions.

Here are 7 ways for a husband to earn and keep respect:

Defend the family.

Most every wife I know wants a husband who will defend the family. This not just against the bumps in the night, but against the blatant and subtle attacks against the family. Turn the television channel. Close the laptop. Say no to friends who distract the family from being healthy. Don’t let family time be disrupted by everything the world has to offer. Demonstrate by your actions – how you calendar your time and what you value personally – you believe in and want to protect your home.

Be gentle.

Men, you can’t talk to your wife with the same tone as you might your guy friends. Being gentle means being understanding in how she is wired and how to communicate with her. Remember your words can be heavy. Think before you speak. Protect her heart. Learn to be a good listener.

Be occasionally romantic.

This one is hard. Let’s face it – most of us are not wired this way naturally. Our wives know it. It’s no longer a surprise. The good news is we get credit for trying, but every woman needs to know you think about her unlike you think of anyone else. Be intentional to be occasionally a romantic. Surprise her. Spoil her as often as you can. Make her feel special. She is.

Don’t fix her or all her problems.

This is one of my hardest I see what appears to be a problem and I naturally rush to fix it. But, our wives are not broke. God made them different on purpose. Don’t always have the answer to every problem. She isn’t always looking for one. She mostly just wants someone to listen, care, and value her right to feel as she does in the moment.

Let her know you’re in this relationship – for keeps.

You’ll do this one by being faithful. Do the right things, even when you aren’t with each other. Don’t let her see your eyes wandering. When she does (because we are visual and she notices when you look) quickly let her see you fighting temptation and focusing on her alone. Guard your heart. Build appropriate accountability in your life. (For me personally, this includes allowing Cheryl access to my calendars. She appreciates knowing where I am during the day. It makes her feel a part of it.)

Learn to listen.

I’ve alluded to it already, but one way she measures love is with attention. She knows when you’re listening and when you’re not. Show her that you care by listening carefully. Ask her questions, such as, “So are you saying…?” just to show her you’re paying attention and comprehending. She probably speaks in more subtleties and less black and whites than you do – most women do – ask questions when you aren’t sure what she means rather than ignoring her. And, listen for the meaning behind what she says as much as what she says.

Tell her and show her you love her.

Value her for more who she is than for what she does. Ask yourself, if she didn’t do anything for me, what would I love about her? Tell her. Do things you know she appreciates without being asked. Continually demonstrate love to her and she will continually respect you.

It should be noted this is not a guarantee to anything. Every spouse is unique and responses differently. This is simply intended as a possible help. But, when in doubt, ask for help. There is nothing wrong with seeking wisdom from a counselor or friend with more experience. A good marriage is worth it.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 33 Comments

  • murphyaik says:

    Always fulfil your promise to her . Some men are good at making promises to their wives, but never give a thought about fulfiling it . Once your wife sees you as that type of husband that is good at saying What he can not do, all your word will not hold anything to her anymore, until you build the trust back.

  • jimpemberton says:

    I'm passionate about being a good husband for my wife and this list really resonates with me. I have a thought to add to the "Don't Fix Her…" category:

    The way I read Ephesians 5, just as Christ sacrificed himself to purify his Church, a husband is to live sacrificially for his wife's purity. That means cooperating with the Holy Spirit in her ongoing sanctification.

    * It doesn't mean "fixing" everything.
    * It doesn't mean being the determiner of what's right for her or even the direct agent of her change, although God will use you as an indirect agent.

    * It does mean praying for your wife.
    * It does mean gently tending to your wife's heart from the Scriptures.

    This is especially difficult when she sins and doesn't think she's sinning. The goal is to study your wife to know her heart and discover what works in drawing out a conviction in her to pursue greater purity. That doesn't mean berating her or telling her how wrong she is. It means recognizing your own need for sanctification and being willing to live with your wife through the consequences of her sin. If you think that's a tough job, then be the man God made you to be and take on that difficult task with the confidence of knowing that you are doing what God has called you to do. God will fix her for you in his own time, and until he does he will sanctify you through bearing with her sacrificially. Just remember, she has to put up with you too.

  • I'm nobody says:

    So I guess calling me a bitch in front of our kids would be number 8?

    • ronedmondson says:

      No, that would be number one on the idiot husband list. So sorry. Very immature and should never happen — by either spouse.

  • Jill says:

    *No man can do God’s job, but when man lets God, God never fails!

  • cassie says:

    Wat do i do ? My husband talks to me like a dog he cusses me and he tells me wat to do . I’ve tried to talj to him but he doesn’t listen to me at all we go to church and he stil curses me non stop i don’t kno what to do about it

    • Jill says:

      Trying to figure out what you did wrong, of u didn’t do anything wrong, will get you nowhere. However, if you truly suspect that you may be DOING something wrong, (present tense) you should humbly through prayer and supplication, request that God bring all wrong doings to your heart and mind and help you repent from them and become the person, and wife, God created you to be, even if your husband doesn’t deserve it. Think about the way God loves you, nonstop, weather or not you deserve it. True love is one that cannot be earned, because no one could be good enough to deserve it. (Unconditional) Next, Pray for your husband, more than you complain, worry, or doubt him. I’m not chastising you for feeling these things, but we as women have a harder job realizing that our emotions are not necessarily in our control, but out thoughts and actions are to be held captive under submission to God, regardless of our feelings. We are not sinning to feel left out, insulted, abandoned, unappreciated, ect, but these feelings, when let free to control thought process and spirit, will lead us to sin, sometimes without even knowing it. Yes, we may be under appreciated, but how appreciated do we think God feels when we spend our time sulking and complaining about the blessings we Don’t have, instead of realizing, experiencing, and appreciating all of the ones we do? Your husband may be wrong in so many areas, and it may hurt you real bad, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling that hurt, but Jesus didn’t leave us comfort less. He is always here, holding our hand, with us, every step of the way, ready to comfort us, when the battle gets horrid, ready to strengthen us, when we have lost strength, and he is “Able to keep us from falling!” You can’t change your husband, but God can! Lean in Him and run to Him with every situation. Trust Him and follow Him while praying for your husband to change, and God will answer your prayer. And you may just find that while praying for your husband to change and investing yourself into that battle, you find peace, love, and joy for yourself, by the Grace of God, because no man to Gods job, but when Man lets God, God never Fails!

  • Crystal Walton says:

    Also, I especially appreciate the ‘Don’t Fix her’. Nothing is more frustrating when someone treats you as if you are a big mess needing to be “fixed”. Talk about feeling inadequate. We all need to focus on our own mirrors and work on what we can control – ourselves, and stop trying to change and fix others. That is between them and God to do that.

  • Crystal Walton says:

    I think it is important to stress that the husband is the leader and therefore; he is to lead in love and gentleness ALWAYS, even when he is upset or irritated and in return, his wife will soften greatly and naturally show him respect. A harsh, authoritative demeanor stirs up the opposite in women. Men have a lot on their shoulders as leaders but if they would simply be loving and gentle always, their marriages would be a great deal more peaceful.

    • Sarah says:

      So true. If men only realized what small gestures like a back rub after a long day at work would get them in return! I think for most women, we feel like when they take care of us well, we want to show appreciation and give them the respect they deserve.

  • Kim Yarbrough says:

    These are excellent and spot on. The most important ingredient in all of them though is the heart. If a husband does all of these things from an intellectual standpoint rather than a heartfelt one, they won’t have an impact. A woman, a wife knows when you are just going through the motions and doing these things just because you are encouraged to do them or even worse, for the purpose of the anticipated payoff back. Genuine action that is fully giving of self to another will reciprocate genuine action. True actions of the heart will positively impact the life of another.

  • Guest says:

    Be first in seeking God and leading the family to God. Don’t let the spiritual training of the children rely solely on the wife.

    Be an active part of the family instead of decompressing from work everyday at the computer or watching TV.

  • kENT says:

    My wife has found an old Personal Profile, that was still opened after over 5 years of marriage, and canceling… what I thought was all of them!! She is very mad and I don't know how to calm her down. She believes that if one of her friends that are single can still see it after I showed her it was in active… had to activate it to show her (which just made her madder) , now I can not convince her that It is not out there… even though she said it is and her friends have seen it!!! I have tried to get and they have tried to work with me on getting it taken off but they also say it is inactive too!!!! What do I do to gain her Trust Again?????? Kent Galyon (256) 508-2690 email; [email protected]!!!!

  • Guest says:

    Men listen to this and heed it. It's a lot harder to earn respect back.

  • Nick says:

    Been a husband for 7 months! This is such a help!! THANKS!

  • daringerdes says:

    Thanks for writing. We are on a similar page (with what I write about leadership and management). I wish I knew this when I was first married. Esp. learning to listen. I did a bad job of that at first. 5 Kids later, I have learned something. 🙂

  • Ron,

    Been married 28 years, and your wisdom there is as fresh as can be. Thanks for the insights and reminders. Hope ya'll are doing well up there in almost-yankee land.

    kmac4him, thanks too for those wise words.


  • Mike says:

    Great thoughts! As to the words we use. God used his words to set us apart (sanctify) our word to and about our wife should set her apart from all others.

  • Jon says:

    These are very good and true. Men, daily step up to do these things for her; be her husband, leader, lover, servant. When you fail at these things you lose that respect and it can be a very very hard thing to get back.

  • DerekDRobertson says:

    oh so true. Heard this before but its good to hear it again.

  • Seth Fuller says:

    These are excellent.

    As a husband married for eight years, I feel so much like I am only beginning to actually grasp some of these things.

    One thing I would add that I have particularly struggled with:

    Be a leader by example. I can't count how many times I have criticized my wife about the very same things I do, yet, I am called to be the leader of my family. I am called to set the example for everyone else. If I am not living as a role model for my family, how can I rebuke them for the same faults I have? I find that when I set an example, my wife is much more prone to listen to my concerns.

    Thanks for the great post.

    For His glory,

    Seth Fuller

  • kmac4him

    Take time to pray with her heart to heart. Because a woman whose 1st love is Jesus Christ, needs her second love, her husband to share in her passion for God. Together in Christ in prayer, in thought, in word and deed, being ONE In Christ with your husband is the best thing you can build into your relationship this side of heaven. It takes time to “practice the presence of God” together, but it should be the 1st priority of every married couple to build a “Kingdom foundation” together, more than we do the “earthly things”. Our Kingdom foundation will hold us through everything, where our earthly foundations, as good and fun and necessary for our marriage as they are, they don’t last forever. So I love it when my husband prays with me, when he shares what God has spoken to him, when he leaves me a scripture to encourage me on my voice mail… I love it when we share Christ together, it is an “eternal edge” to our marriage that nothing in this world can corrupt or destroy!